Glass

Kate Kort

Glass has been nominated for a 2017 IPPY Award. Winners will be announced in early April.

Menashe Everett is a tormented man. He’s ruled by depression and addiction. He’s haunted by his past. At 37, he barely holds onto his job and lives in a haze of blurred reality.

But to many in his life, he’s their only hope.

For the past ten years, Menashe has been acting as a counselor to similarly afflicted clients who agree to his unorthodox brand of pseudo-therapy. After a grim but revelatory trip to Las Vegas in his late twenties, Menashe decided to open up a "glass museum"—an underground safe place where clients can vent their anguish by destroying rooms filled with clear glass art. The museum brings hope to those who have not responded to traditional therapy, but also gives Menashe a sense of purpose he desperately needs.

Menashe’s work is always challenging, but now he’s taken on a particularly taxing caseload. Among others, he counsels Austin Gendron, a gruff Vietnam veteran prone to psychotic breaks; Murray Henderson, a timid college student trying to understand his episodes of anger and anxiety; and John Cook, Menashe’s best friend. As he works tirelessly for his clients, Menashe must also handle his increasingly complex personal life, which constantly forces him to relive his past and question his abilities as a therapist.

Set in Cleveland in the late 1980s, Glass tests traditional ideas of interpersonal responsibility and what it means to struggle with mental illness.

Advance Praise for Glass

"Glass is a stunning debut for novelist Kate Kort. The imagery is vivid and the characters complex and well rounded. The story is raw, intense and, at times, hard to read but once you begin it is impossible to put down because you find yourself pulled into this world and you need to know what will happen next. The protagonist, Menashe Everett is flawed. In spite of this, he is likeable and appealing because he is genuine and kind and out of control. He assembles a group around him, each with their own flaws, and as self-appointed therapist tries to help them overcome past trauma. His therapy consists of the unique idea of smashing glass, taking that which is pristine and clear and reducing it to a chaotic pile of rubble that mirrors the innermost pain of his clients. The success of this unorthodox treatment is impossible to measure and not clearly evident until the end of the book.

"Finely nuanced and exquisitely drawn, Glass is not the kind of book you forget after you finish. Kort has masterfully written a riveting and poignant story that grabs you and draws you into a place where glass isn’t the only thing that’s fragile. A must read."


—Cynthia A. Graham, author of Beneath Still Waters

"Glass, Kate Kort’s debut novel, is told in an artful narrative pattern that goes back and forth from past to present. Though weighty in its subject matter, Glass avoids enveloping the reader in darkness by two means: the shining narrative and descriptive talents of this debut novelist, and the masterfully authentic rendering of a variety of damaged characters who, however undone they perhaps ought to be, still seek a way not only to help themselves but each other. This arresting array of co-sufferers insist on our attention and receive our sympathy, even as that sympathy extends out from this author to all of us, the recipients of this gift of irresistible honesty and insight into our human plight."

—Joe Benevento, author of The Monsignor’s Wife and Saving St. Teresa

Author Links


Listen to The Portland Cool Podcast's interview with Kate Kort.

Kate Kort was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1985. She studied English and world literature at Truman State University. She currently lives in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, with her husband and three children. Some of her favorite authors include Salman Rushdie, G.K. Chesterton, Carl Hiaasen, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Bely, and Arundhati Roy.

Laika (2017) is her second novel.